The 13th amendment

In my History of the Americas class during freshman year, we watched a movie about the thirteenth amendment, simply titled “13th”. I would call it a “documentary”, but at least they tried. Participation medals are still a thing, right? For anyone who doesn’t know, the thirteenth amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Essentially, you can’t be forced to do any work that you don’t want to, unless you’ve gone through due process.

The film begins by stating that slavery still exists in America. Not only do white people make blacks commit crimes and imprison them, but we also force them into manual labor after doing so. Supposedly this is, in effect, slavery. They just forget to stop and answer one question. Why are all of these people committing the crimes? Ben Shapiro has even provided us with the statistic that African Amercians only make up 13% of the population (ironic number), yet they commit 50% of the crime. Yes, if this was a debate, you could always play the victim card and say that they live in poor neighborhoods where they’re forced to commit crimes. Or you could even make the outrageous claim that white people just arrest blacks out of nowhere, and claim they were committing crimes.

The fact is, neither of those are true. Everything you do is a choice, no matter what. Fortunately, they didn’t use the standard argument of white privilege ruling over everything else. Out of all the people I know, only a few of them actually disagreed with the movie. Sadly, he moved away this school year. Maybe I can visit him after I move back to Reno, since he only lives in vegas. His family’s window tinting in las vegas business must be doing amazing if they can afford to move the whole family. Still, I don’t think we should have watched that in my class. It’s specious, I’ll give them that. Because of how well the documentary was put together (aside from all of the “facts”), it appears to be real. Juniors at a high school don’t  have access to that kind of information, so they all believe it’s real. If we put together a movie that completely disagreed with this one, but the only people who saw the film had never seen 13th, they would have a fundamentally different view.

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